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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Children under 7 should not be on a tractor or farm vehicle

Inexperienced operators, a lack of concentration, speed, unguarded parts, and poor mechanical condition of the vehicle are among the causes of most serious tractor accidents.

That is according to Teagasc, who has launched a new joint collaborative farm safety digital media campaign with the HSA, Farm Safety Partnership and FBD Insurance.

The bodies have produced a series of short videos containing industry-leading life-saving advice covering livestock handling, farmer’s health, sheep farming, chemicals, children, slurry handling, harvesting and farm machinery.

In its tractor safety video, the partners outlined that tractors and farm vehicles can help you save time, money and increase productivity, but they are also very hazardous if not operated in a safe manner.

According to data from the HSA, tractors are farm vehicles that account for 45% of fatal injuries on farms.

A large number of these deaths are related to crush injuries, which can occur during a wide range of daily tasks – for example, getting crushed between a tractor and a gate because a handbrake was not working properly or becoming trapped under a tractor during repairs.

Main safety advice in this article:

  • Carry out tractor safety checks before starting work each day;
  • Look for any loose wheel nuts on the tractor or attachments;
  • Check the U guard is in place;
  • Be familiar with safety procedures both entering and dismounting the tractor;
  • Ensure the brakes and handbrake are working properly;
  • Check lights – headlights and taillights;
  • Ensure indicators and flashing amber beacons are working properly;
  • Know the location of all controls in the cab;
  • Use the seatbelt;
  • When operating machinery, if you sense any danger, stop the tractor;
  • Take adequate rest breaks;
  • Carry out machinery checks before operating machinery;
  • Ensure glass is clean;
  • Ensure mirrors are clean and properly adjusted;
  • Beware of blind spots;
  • Make sure people only needed for the job are present and that all individuals are visible before proceeding;
  • Parking safely can help to reduce accidents;
  • Follow safe stop procedure;
  • Reverse park safely;
  • Apply the braking system;
  • Lower all attachments;
  • Engage engine braking;
  • Switch off engine;
  • Remove the key from vehicle and dismount safely.
  • Take extra care on narrow roads;
  • Drivers must have the knowledge, skill and experience to drive tractor safely;
  • All drivers must be provided with supervision and training to ensure drivers are competent;
  • Drive at a speed that is appropriate to land, terrain and the environment;
  • Young adults must be at least 16-years-old to drive a tractor on a public road;
  • All drivers must have an appropriate driver’s licence and insurance when driving on road;
  • Children must be 14-years-old to drive a tractor;
  • Tasks must be appropriate to age and ability;
  • Adequate instruction, supervision and training important to be able to operate;
  • Children over 7 and young adults may travel only if a passenger seat and seatbelt is provided;
  • Children under 7 should not be on a tractor or farm vehicle, even if a passenger seat is provided;
  • The tractor’s weight and power can cause serious injury and death;
  • Take action to prevent injuries associated with tractors.

Previous article covered child safety on farms

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